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Buck's Impact on Teat Genetics

Over the years, our belief has grown in believing that breeding bucks can and will have a major impact on the quality of the teat structures of the does. We now will not have a breeding buck in our program that does not have clean, show quality teats. We have come to this conclusion through three different reasons.

Summary: The buck can have an important impact on what teat structures the offspring will have.

Actions Needed:

Breeders need to seriously consider their breeding buck's teat structure in order to offer a better chance of good, clean teats on their offspring.

Boer Associations need to seriously consider changing the standards to include acceptable and cull factors with the teat structures on breeding bucks. It is misleading to the Boer industry to award a buck wins in the show ring and the Ennoblement label when they are likely to have a negative impact on the teat structures of the doe offspring.

Personal Experience

A few years after we got into the Boer industry, we purchased a nice buck out of an ABGA National Grand Champion Buck. We bred him with does that had previously had offspring out of a different buck. We started noticing we were getting teat problems out of does that had given us clean teat structures in the past. After one breeding season, we sold the buck and went with a different buck in our breeding program. The offspring from the same does no longer had teat problems. The buck we sold went on to become Ennobled in ABGA through to breeder that purchased him. We never checked his teat structure because the ABGA standards say nothing about acceptable and cull factors with bucks. Thus breeders will only look at the Ennobled label in a pedigree and not be given any indication that the genetics may produce cull factors in the doe offspring from the buck.

We started checking the teat structures of our current and future breeding bucks and the percentage of doe kids with show quality teat structures increased dramatically. The more doe kids we have with show quality teats means the more doe kids we can sell at a higher price because they don't have a potential cull factor in their teat structures.

Input from other breeders

We had a friend that bred many of her does with a well known buck that had an outstanding show record with several National Grand Champion awards. When we visited her farm after her does had kidded, she commented that she was having an abnormal number of does with split teats - a cull. She said the owner of the buck had called her to see how the kids looked which she said they looked fine. Then the owner asked if there were any teat problems. The owner was seeing the same problem with the doe kids out of the buck at other farms. The buck was quickly Ennobled through the show wins and that is all breeders would see in pedigrees.

We have heard from other breeders that they had checked the teat structures on some of the well known Ennobled bucks and indicated the bucks had bad teat structures. However, since there is nothing in the ABGA standards, the visual inspections or at shows, that important information never was passed on to other breeders in the industry.

The final example came from a friend that purchased 60 embryos from a flush with a buck that had been heavily marketed in the industry and caused a big buzz for a year or two. A few years later our friend was having a dispersal sale and we asked him if any of the animals from the embryos would be in the sale. He said NO. He said that there were so many cull factors in the offspring from the buck that they ended up getting rid of all of the genetics. Some of the cull factors included bad teat structures. Breeders are still likely to see an ad about the buck but there is nothing in the system to let breeders know the teat problems that other breeders have had with the genetics.

Teat and Udder Research

After we became believers in the importance of the buck's teat structure, we started wondering about the two teat and four teat question.  We were wondering what the impact was in breeding a two teat animal to a four teat animal. We started collecting the details in 2011 on each breeding to see what the offspring's teat structures were when we knew what the buck and doe's teat structures were. That has given us some very important information that we share with the industry and we will continue to collect the information for each breeding season in order to give us a better understanding how the genetics affect the offspring.

One other thing we were looking for was the impact of a buck on cleaning up bad teat structures a doe may have. We have had several outstanding does with terrific features except no show quality teats. We have seen over and over again that the offspring from a doe with teat problems will likely have clean, show quality teats. That means we will not cull a doe just because she does not have show quality teats as long as the teats are functional and will cause no problems with kids nursing from them. It seems that using bucks with good teat structure can clearly have a positive impact on the teat structure of the kids. That means more does can be sold at a higher price because they have show quality kids.

Here is a link to the study.


In conclusion, we firmly believe that breeders need to consider breeding with bucks that have clean teat structures in order to improve the percentage of offspring with show quality teat structures. This can improve the value of the animals you have to sell. Recently, we have seen more and more breeders ask about the teat structures of our buck kids when they are considering purchasing them. It does not cost anything to breed with clean teated bucks but it can result in higher prices for your does you are selling if they have show quality teats.

We believe that the Boer Associations should change their standards and add acceptable and cull features of the buck's teat structure so members will have better information about the genetics having good and bad teat structures. ABGA has been focuing on whether two teat or four teat are better even though both are good and acceptable. They will cull a doe with teat structures that are not show quality but will not even consider that it may be coming from the buck's genetics.

We believe that it is very important for breeders to have as much information about the teats and udders of animals they are considering buying. It is important that breeders also know what the history of teat structures in the different generations in a pedigree. That is why we will continue to document the teat structures of the bucks, does and offspring are in our breeding program. We are now also documenting what the udders look like in our does about to kid so they can understand if the doe will be producing enough milk to raise twins, triplets or quads.  We have purchased several high priced does with pedigrees overflowing with Ennoblements labels but the doe not have enough milk to feed twins much less triplets.

Here are two links to areas in our website that show the research we are documenting on our animals for potential buyers or breeders interested in the genetics they may already have in their herd.